The Inexperience Factor

I’m not normally a big fan of Hot Air.  But when they referred to a devastating McCain ad, I had to check it out.

Here’s their post, containing said ad.  And here’s my problem with said post:  it’s historically ignorant.

Woodrow Wilson came into office self-admittedly profoundly naive about foreign policy.  In fact, in many ways, from his scandalous and self-contradictory interventions in Mexico, his obviously totalitarian Committee on Public Information, which pulled us into WWI and thereby directly ruined any chances that the belligerent parties might realize their own foolishness and negotiate their own peace, to his refusal to leave office after he’d been almost completely incapacitated by a stroke, to his bulletheaded Andrew-Jackson-like certainty that his opinion was the correct one, merely because he possessed it… Woodrow Wilson was a TERRIBLE president.

And yet, his insistence on the Principle of Self-Determination of Peoples, generated directly from his foreign-policy naivete, is why the world is so upset with Russia right now.  Because before Wilson stumbled into office (nominated by people who wanted to eject him from his home state, and tried their damndest to get him to lose, and thus be out of US politics forever), the right of the strong to build empires on the backs of the weak was simply taken for granted as the order of the day.

Wilson, ignorant, hypocritical, dishonest jerk that he was — the only US President to never keep a single campaign promise (and a good thing, too, since he campaigned openly against women’s suffrage!) — also set forth a brand of foreign-policy thinking that dominates the world today.  When Republicans do it, the Democrats call it “neoconservatism.”  When Democrats do it, Republicans call it “interventionism.”

But they both do it, and only the most retrograde of tyrants and wannabe-totalitarian fellow-travelers now dare to openly oppose Wilson’s general-purpose gut-feeling vision for a better world.

I won’t be voting for Obama: as a libertarian hawk, I’m often forced to hold my nose and vote Republican (given that the libertarians are finally coming out of their hallucinatory, Viet-Cong-like insistence on ideological purity, that’s likely to change), because I strongly disagree with what an administration dominated by 4-8 more years of Madeleine Not-So-Bright would do in the world.  But “inexperience” itself is by no means the slam-dunk that many of my fellow hawkish types believe it to be.

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  1. Anna

     /  August 28, 2008

    Inexperience, I don’t care about so much. Hubris, on the other hand…
    “But perhaps the greatest consideration is Obama’s Hellenic hubris, which is different than simple arrogance. Hubris is a sort of fit, a haughtiness steeped in delusions of grandeur and divinity that takes over a weak individual, and soon encourages recklessness and overreaching (atê), all culminating in ruin and divine retribution (nemesis)”, as Victor Davis Hanson’s new article says much better than I can.

  2. Mike

     /  August 28, 2008

    Funny how history works out sometimes isn’t it? I fully agree with you on Wilson, that guy was something else (in a bad way). If TR and Taft hadn’t split the Republican Party Wilson would have been beat. Of course, that does open up the neat “what ifs”. WWI with TR as the President? Whoa…

  3. Mike

     /  August 28, 2008

    But that aside, his experience isn’t what bugs me. Its his Chicago Machine connections that do. Dirty doesn’t come close.

  4. The inexperience angle is moot now that McCain’s chosen Palin as a running-mate. Choosing a 44 year old with 2 years under her belt as governor of Alaska kind of undercuts his argument. True – she’s got two years of executive experience and the nomination if for VP, not President, but I still have to say that McCain’s pretty much lost the ground that ad covers.

  5. Mike

     /  August 29, 2008

    I don’t know about that. 2 years is still more than Obama has…

  6. Mike: Maddie says “Absolutely, and more than McCain has.”

    They’re calling Palin a VPILF — I think that’s a little bit of a stretch-mark, personally, but to each their own.

    Outside of the hubris inherent in socialism, I don’t see Obama as having any more hubris than <name ten senators/>. Too ‘uppity’? 🙂

  7. Mike

     /  August 30, 2008

    Snicker, that’s a good one. I think the whole use of “executive experience” is a dumbo item anyway. Aside from a actual VP or POTUS, who is going to get any of that? Yeah, maybe you could count some of the Secs for that, but still gimme a break. Overall government experience is really the point here. I would break it down myself into various levels, but that is just me.

    Completely unrelated item. The JEEP has been fully restored. I mean FULLY RESTORED down to the US ARMY issue BII shovel and 5 gallon Jerry can. OD green paint job with White stars and my Granddad’s unit bumper numbers. I couldn’t tell it apart from a period photo. My dad finally got his project finished today and we just picked it up. The guy who did it is now working on a T7 armored recon car complete with 2 Machine Guns.

    Political topics are all fine, but dude I just HAD to tell everyone. This is the JEEP after all…

  8. Mike

     /  August 30, 2008

    Oh yeah, Tamara LOVED her first jeep ride.

  9. I suppose the Mk III Mod 0 bottle-rocket-launchers didn’t make the cut…. 🙂

  10. Actually, now that I’m a minor civil servant (plankton-level), I can say that executive experience is a very different critter.

    But I’m still not worried about that particular issue. I’m much more concerned about the jeep.

    VPILF? Hardly. That’s Condoleeza Rice, fer crissakes…

  11. Alex

     /  August 31, 2008

    Very good news about the Jeep Mike. I hope someday to get another ride in it.
    As for that whole executive experience thing….Mike, you have executive experience, as does any teacher of 4-year olds up to adults. Most of us have plenty of executive experience – what’s really needed is wisdom, vision, and charisma in a national leader. Both candidates have strengths and weaknesses in these areas, and I wish for an ideal world where the two would really work together. We’re overdue for a political revolution in this country, but I suspect what we will get on Nov 5 is more of the same. Party A pisses into the eye of Party B while Party B flings shit at Party A. We (the voters) get covered in the waste and fall further behind. I would love love love to be wrong though.


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